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American Football

Five candidates for the vacant Las Vegas Raiders head coach role

Five candidates for the vacant Las Vegas Raiders head coach roleMike Mulholland/Getty Images
Josh McDaniels was fired by the franchise.

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Las Vegas Raiders. 

After losing 26-14 to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football, the Raiders decided to fire head coach Josh McDaniels after 25 games in charge. 

With a 3-5 record and sitting joint-bottom of the AFC West, the Raiders need to get their own house in order before challenging for a spot in the postseason and that starts with choosing a head coach who can bring some stability to a team surrounded by chaos.

DAZN names five coaches who could be in the running to take charge of the Raiders for the rest of the 2023 season and beyond. 

Antonio Pierce (Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach)

In an attempt to create little disruption following the exit of Josh McDaniels, the Las Vegas Raiders have named linebackers coach Antonio Pierce as the interim head coach for the team's forthcoming games. 

This is an opportunity for Pierce to showcase his credentials as a head coach and if he can somehow keep the Raiders in contention for a playoff spot or at least mastermind a few positive performances, it would give him a good chance of landing the role on a full-time basis. 

Already it looks like Pierce is stamping his authority on this team with reports of rookie Aidan O'Connell being the starter for this weekend's game against the New York Giants instead of Jimmy Garoppolo, but now fans are waiting to see if Pierce's gamble will pay off. 

Ben Johnson (Detroit Lions offensive coordinator)

The Detroit Lions are quickly becoming one of the must-watch teams in the NFL and that is no small part due to the work of offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. 

The 37-year-old has already been on the radar for a number of teams when it comes to head coaching positions and was interviwed by the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans in the offseason. 

However, Johnson returned to Detroit for the 2023 season and has the Lions offense averaging 25.0 points per game which ranks them eighth in the NFL when it comes to points scored. 

If this upward trajectory continues, Johnson will be a sought-after name and it would be foolish if the Raiders did not attempt to acquire his expertise. 

Brian Flores (Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator)

Brian Flores may not be someone who generates excitement when it comes to the offensive side of the ball, but he has a proven track record of improving defenses. 

After working under Bill Belichick at the New England Patriots for 15 years, Flores joined the Miami Dolphins in 2019 as head coach and while he boasted a mediocre 24-25 record, he improved a Dolphins defense from a bottom-five unit to one which now can hold its own in games. 

Now at the Minnesota Vikings, Flores is having a similar impact on the defense, taking them from last in a number of categories to 11th in yards allowed and 15th in scoring so far this season. 

If the Raiders are looking to bring some stability to the defense, Flores would prove a suitable pick for the head coach position. 

Frank Smith (Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator)

Frank Smith has been crucial to head coach Mike McDaniel's success in Miami. 

Over the past two seasons, the Dolphins have made themselves a feared offensive force and are currently on course to being a top 10 offensive unit in back-to-back seasons, and this has been under the watchful eye of Smith who has also made quarterback Tua Tagovailoa an MVP candidate. 

Smith has previous history with th Raiders after being the tight ends coach between 2018 and 2020, and now could be his chance to return to the franchise in the hope of bringing some much needed flair to a struggling Raiders offense. 

Jerod Mayo (New England Patriots linebackers coach)

Jerod Mayo may have only become an NFL coach in March 2019 when he was hired by the New England Patriots, but already there are promising signs for his future. 

Mayo knows what is needed for a franchise to enjoy success after winning a Super Bowl under the watchful eyes of Bill Belichick in 2015, and with the Raiders defense sitting 19th and 22nd in total yards allowed and in points allowed per game respectively, Mayo would be starting with what is effectively a blank slate when it comes to improving this Raiders team. 

If Mayo was to become the Raiders head coach, it would be a decision that would raise a few eyebrows, but maybe this is the opportunity the 37-year-old to prove that he has long future when it comes to leading a team on the sidelines. 

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